JAMIE CARRAGHER has urged his team-mates to show Everton just how far Liverpool have come since last season’s derby defeat at Goodison.
The long-serving defender admits the 2-0 reverse under Roy Hodgson last October, which was the first game of owners Fenway Sports Group’s reign, was a bitter pill for the Reds to swallow.
But Carragher insists Kenny Dalglish’s much-changed side are now a very different proposition and he wants them to prove it in the lunchtime showdown.
“We were very poor that day and Everton were deserved winners,” he said. “They took the game to us, got in front and played very professionally. We had a lot of the ball but never looked like getting back in the game.
“As a team we were struggling back then and that day at Goodison epitomised everything that was wrong about the club and the team.
“We’ve come a long way on and off the pitch over the past year. It’s a very different team and the mood around the place has been transformed. Hopefully we can show Everton the difference.”
Carragher believes a fast start will be crucial to Liverpool’s hopes of building on their recent wins over Brighton and Wolves. The 33-year-old says they can’t allow the Blues to impose themselves on the game.
“The first goal is so important in the derby,” he said.
“The game at Goodison last season proved that. We let them get in front and then they had something to hold on to. It’s vital we start well. We didn’t do that at Tottenham recently and paid the price for it. Everton will come at us and we have to be ready for that.
“We’re going into it with confidence. Winning at Brighton was a big result for us after the previous couple of games.
“Although we didn’t play great against Wolves last weekend we fought from the first whistle to the last to get the points. We’ll need a similar attitude at Goodison.”
No fewer than 19 players have been sent off in the previous 38 Premier League meetings between the clubs and 10 red cards have been issued in the last 13 clashes.
Emotions run high on derby day but Carragher insists composure as well as passion will be needed at Goodison.
“The way football is now, you can’t go flying around kicking people,” he added.
“They used to say you can throw the ball on in the derby after 20 minutes because before then they would be too busy booting each other. But you can’t do that now. You want to play with your heart but it’s more important to play with your head.
“If you are too pumped up and too caught up in the occasion, you can end up picking up yellow and red cards.
“It’s vitally important that we keep 11 men on the pitch. The derby is difficult enough without going a man down.
“Everyone in the squad realises how important this game is and what a victory would mean to the fans.”
Meanwhile, Jonjo Shelvey has completed his loan move to Blackpool. The Reds midfielder will remain with the Championship outfit until December 31 and could make his debut against Bristol City today.